Traffic congestion to cost nation additional £9bn by 2030

Population Matters press release

9 January 2016

Traffic congestion to cost nation additional £9bn by 2030 More people, more congestion, more costs New analysis released by Population Matters estimates England will face total annual costs of £23.8 billion by 2030 as a result of congestion caused by a surging human population. This would mark a 58.7 per cent increase over the £15bn figure for 2015, costing the economy an extra £8.8 billion annually.

The population of England is projected to grow by 10% in the same period, reaching 60 million by 2030.

The research also calculates that by 2030: • The cost of traffic congestion per household could increase by 40 per cent, translating to a total of £2,100 per year

• Average lateness as a result of rail traffic could increase nationally by 48.2 per cent, and 103.4 per cent in London

• Road users could waste more than 12 hours per year more than in 2015 on average, because of traffic congestion Alistair Currie, Head of Campaigns at Population Matters said: “This research makes the economic ramifications of population pressure resoundingly clear yet again. This isn’t just about the impact on our pockets, however. Every commuter and holidaymaker knows the strain our transport system is already under – and the last thing our environment needs is more trains, cars, buses and trucks pumping out more pollution.

The effects of population growth can’t be ignored. Politicians must face the facts and put fair, effective policies in place to manage population growth and minimise the negative effects of our swelling numbers – if we are to achieve a sustainable, fair future for the UK and its people.

The research uses statistical data and analytical reports from the Department for Transport (DfT), National Travel Survey and other agencies to model its calculations.

The principle findings are below.


Please call Priya Rane on 07824564369 or email for more information.

Notes to Editors

The research reports focus on the population growth in England and its impact on road and rail traffic. The estimates for vehicular traffic include commercial vehicles (light goods vehicles and heavy goods vehicles), personal vehicles and buses. To produce the most effective projections using available data and statistical techniques, road traffic analysis reflects urban and national “strategic” roads only: the effects of minor road congestion will add additional time and cost. The principal findings from the available datasets are tabulated below: ENGLAND PARAMETER 2015 2030 Percentage Change (%) POPULATION (million) 54.7 60.2 10.1 Road Traffic Forecasts Average Annual Hours Wasted (excluding Planning Time) 40.3 44 9.2 Average Annual Hours Wasted (including Planning Time) 124 136.1 9.8 Cost of Traffic Congestion per household (£) 1500 2100 40.0 Cost of Traffic Congestion in total (billion £) 15 23.8 58.7 State Car Ownership (million) 25.8 31.2 20.9 Rail Traffic Forecasts Total Passenger Journeys (billion) 1.77 2.55 44.1 Average Lateness (minutes) 2.57 3.81 48.2 Definitions Average Annual Hours Wasted: The average number of hours a typical road traveller will be delayed by congestion above the journey time expected without congestion. Planning Time: The additional time that people need to allow to their destination on time. This ‘extra’ extra time aims to measure the additional time (compared to free flow conditions) that motorists need to leave on individual road sections to ensure that they arrive on time. Average Lateness: A measure to calculate the average delay in minutes that a passenger will experience in 2030. This measures the average lateness of a passenger as they alight from their train. This is calculated by multiplying the number of passengers expected to alight at a station by the punctuality to the nearest minute at those stops. Cost of Traffic Congestion: The sum of direct costs (value of fuel and time wasted) and indirect costs (increased cost of doing business) incurred due to traffic congestion. Methodology Information source for population projections: Office of National Statistics National Population Projections; 2014-based, October 2015. on/populationprojections/bulletins/nationalpopulationprojections/2015-10- 29#2014-based-principal-population-projections Information sources for road and rail traffic: • Department for Transport (DfT) National Trip End Model dataset • Strategic Road Network statistics (DfT) • Office of Rail and Road’s National Rail Trends Data portal Cost data and inputs are based on figures from the Institute of Transport Studies, University of Leeds. Factors inputted into statistical models include (but are not restricted to) fuel cost, numbers of journeys and numbers of commuters (road); average lateness, train cancellations and total passenger journeys (rail). Calculations are based on several assumptions and are subject to uncertainties. Details of original data, statistical models, assumptions, error margins and range of results are available on request. About Population Matters: Population Matters is a membership charity that addresses population size and environmental sustainability. We believe population growth contributes to environmental degradation, resource depletion and other problems. We conduct research, inform the public and advocate improved family planning and sex education, women’s empowerment, smaller families and moderating consumption.


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